Mom told me how special women’s Moontimes were when she taught me how to use the sea sponges. She said that a girl becomes a woman when she starts her bleeding time and that our Ancestors held a special rite of passage to celebrate. The young woman was honored in a secret Women’s Lodge ceremony, given a new name and then presented to the community as a new woman. Maybe the young woman would go on a vision quest at that time and find her Guardian Spirit. Sometimes they had a parade through the village and there was always a big feast with the sacred foods served by the new woman.
While we talked that day, Mom opened a box that I had never seen before and took out a beautiful necklace that Grandmother had beaded for her when she started her own bleeding time. It was red with a white beaded star surrounded by a circle of flowers. Mom said that this was a symbol given to her on her vision quest. She smiled, remembering her own Moontime ceremony. There are several rite of passage ceremonies for women that celebrate our growing and changing bodies. I remember the ceremony that Mom had for me when I turned three years old. It made me feel special and important. I have always looked forward to my first bleeding time because both Mom and Grandmother said that the First Moontime Ceremony is the most special of the women’s Rites of Passage ceremonies.
“Katie, you are a woman now,” a familiar voice speaks. I turn and see Grandmother standing next to me. I had not recognized her among the Grandmothers in the dancing circle. She is still wearing her beaded dancing dress and I am surprised to see a pouch tied around her waist that has the face of a fox on it. Wisdom shines deep in Grandmothers eyes, the way she always looked when she told her most important stories. Now I know that Grandmother has been watching over me the whole time that I have been journeying around the Medicine Wheel.
Grandmother looks into my eyes and smiles. She is holding a small clay bowl filled with cornmeal. Grandmother dips her fingers into the cornmeal and sprinkles a little on my forehead. “May your thoughts know wisdom,” she says. She dips her fingers into the cornmeal again and rubs some softly over my eyelids. “May your eyes see beauty.” She sprinkles cornmeal on my lips and says, “May you always speak the truth.” Next Grandmother sprinkles cornmeal over my heart and says, “May you feel love in everything you do.” She sprinkles cornmeal on my womb and says, “May your womb cycles bring healing and open the door for new life to enter.” Grandmother rubs my hands with cornmeal so that I can create with gentleness and then rubs my feet so that I may walk in peace. She sprinkles the rest of the cornmeal on the ground so that I can feel the heartbeat of MotherEarth under my feet everywhere I walk.